As AFN has reported, in Bella Health and Wellness v. Weiser, the Catholic healthcare clinic is challenging a new Colorado law that forbids doctors and nurses to give progesterone to help women who took the first of two pills in the chemical abortion regimen, even if they were tricked or forced into taking it.
"The judge issued a decision that Colorado is likely violating our clients' free exercise rights three different ways … which requires the court to issue a preliminary injunction to protect our clients while this litigation is ongoing," reports attorney Laura Wolk Slavis of Becket, the law firm representing Dede Chism and Abby Sinnett, co-founders of Bella Health and Wellness.
The court's decision, she says, makes clear that the Colorado law likely violates bedrock First Amendment principles that apply to every person in every state across the country. Regardless of one's profession or residence, Slavis says every American has free exercise rights, and the government must comply.
"The decision here makes clear that the type of targeting Colorado is engaging in is not tolerable under the Constitution," she submits. "Any other person who would be experiencing similar targeting, regardless of how that targeting is happening, could have a claim using the same reasoning, that their free exercise rights are being violated."
The state has 30 days from the date of the decision to appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, Slavis says the practice of providing progesterone to counteract the effects of mifepristone is "backed by scientific credible evidence, and there is no evidence to suggest that this is anything but a low-risk treatment that is effective at potentially maintaining a healthy pregnancy."